B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘climate_change’ tag

No Snow In December

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Immense Activity of a Rain Puddle
Immense Activity of a Rain Puddle

It isn’t just my feeling this winter has been unusually mild, there are facts to support my contention:

Friday’s rain is just another of the meteorological oddities which have marked December 2011.  The month, now running a 7.4-degree surplus and ranked among the mildest 12 percent of all Decembers on record over the past 141 years, is also, along with cities all over the Midwest, in the midst of a snow drought here. The month, typically Chicago’s third snowiest with 8.5 inches of snow and just behind January’s 10.8 inches and February’s typical 9.1 inches, is marching toward a midnight Saturday night close with only 1.7 inches of snow to its credit. That’s an amount which is one fifth (20 percent) the so-called “normal” tally for the month and just 10 percent of last December’s 16.2-inch total.

Lakefront hits 50-degrees Thursday; O’Hare tops out way above normal at 48-degrees, marking the 18th day at or above 40 this December. Mild Pacific-origin air swept into the area Thursday, sending Wednesday’s arctic chill with its 31-degree high packing.  Readings Thursday afternoon surged 17-degrees higher, topping out at 48-degrees at O’Hare and Midway.  Northerly Island on Chicago’s lakefront managed a 50-degree high.     The reading was Chicago’s warmest in 10 days and marked the 18th time this month that temperatures have made it to 40-degrees.

(click here to continue reading Clocks tick toward December’s Saturday night close with just 8 percent of last year’s snow on the books – Chicago Weather Center.)

I’ve made a (mental) bargain with Chicago’s weather – I won’t complain about winter’s lack of sunlight, and general dreariness, if, and only if there is substantial snow for me to play in, and photograph. Despite Tom Skilling’s report of 1.7” of snow so far this winter, downtown Chicago has less than that. In fact, only once was any building dusted with a smidgen of snow, and it melted by the following day. Rain is difficult to photostroll in, at least with my current camera equipment.

Happy Just to Rain on You
Happy Just to Rain on You

Written by Seth Anderson

January 1st, 2012 at 11:08 am

Posted in Chicago-esque

Tagged with , ,

Greening the concrete jungle

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Green Alley, signed by Richard M Daley
Green Alley, signed by Richard M Daley

Baby steps, yet they should be celebrated because the alternative is sitting on our hands as the planet fries…

THERE are many places in Illinois where you expect to find a prairie. The roof of City Hall in Chicago is not among them. Yet there it is—20,000 square feet (almost half an acre) of shrubs, vines and small trees, 11 storeys above LaSalle Avenue. Planted in 2000, City Hall’s “green roof” reduces the amount of energy needed to cool the building in the summer; captures water during rainstorms, thus reducing the amount of water flowing into Chicago’s already overtaxed sewers; and combats the urban “heat island” effect, which makes cities warmer than nearby rural areas. On average, air temperatures above City Hall are 10-15°F degrees lower than those above the adjacent black-tar roof of the Cook County Building; on hot summer days the difference can be as great as 50°F.

Large as it is, City Hall’s roof accounts for a small proportion of Chicago’s total green-roof space. And those roofs are just one part of Chicago’s Climate Action Plan (CCAP), which was launched in September 2008 and was preceded by years of green initiatives during the tenure of Richard Daley, who from 1989 until earlier this year was mayor of Chicago. CCAP aims to reduce Chicago’s greenhouse-gas emissions to 75% of their 1990 levels by 2020, and to just 20% of their 1990 levels by 2050. In the two years after CCAP’s launch public-transport ridership rose, millions of gallons of water were conserved, hundreds of hybrid buses were added to Chicago’s fleet and over 13,000 housing units and nearly 400 commercial buildings were retrofitted for energy efficiency.

These achievements have come not through sweeping social engineering, or by making Chicagoans dine on tofu, sprouts and recycled rainwater while sitting in the dark, but by simple tweaks. City buses inevitably need replacing; so why not replace them with hybrid models that are not only 60% lower in carbon emissions than standard diesel buses, but also 30% more fuel-efficient and will save an estimated $7m a year in fuel and upkeep? Alleys—Chicago has 1,900 miles of them—will inevitably need repaving; why not repave them with permeable, light-coloured surfaces rather than asphalt to reduce water run-off into sewers and reflect rather than retain the sun’s light and heat?

(click here to continue reading Cities and climate change: Greening the concrete jungle | The Economist.)

There Is Only This Kind
There Is Only This Kind

Daley’s plan has been criticized because implementation has been slow, but at least something is happening, in Chicago, and nine other American metropolitan areas that are leading this effort:

Chicago and New York are just two of the ten American cities—the others are Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle—who are members of the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group (mercifully renamed the C40), which now comprises 58 cities around the world. Roughly 297m people, less than 5% of the Earth’s total, live in the 40 charter-member C40 cities. But they account for 18% of the world’s GDP and 10% of its carbon emissions.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 5th, 2011 at 8:29 am

Burning Burning and Politicians Fiddling

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Tonatiuh Resplendent

Nero fiddled, I’d say Senators like Jim Inhofe are just playing their energy company-sponsored kazoo as the planet burns up.

Arizona is burning. Texas, too. New Mexico is next. If you need a grim reminder that an already arid West is burning up and blowing away, here it is. As I write this, more than 700 square miles of Arizona and more than 4,300 square miles of Texas have been swept by monster wildfires. Consider those massive columns of acrid smoke drifting eastward as a kind of smoke signal warning us that a globally warming world is not a matter of some future worst-case scenario. It’s happening right here, right now.

Air tankers have been dropping fire retardant on what is being called the Wallow fire in Arizona and firefighting crews have been mobilized from across the West, but the fire remained “zero contained” for most of last week and only 18% so early in the new week, too big to touch with mere human tools like hoses, shovels, saws, and bulldozers. Walls of flame 100 feet high rolled over the land like a tsunami from Hades. The heat from such a fire is so intense and immense that it can create small tornadoes of red embers that cannot be knocked down and smothered by water or chemicals. These are not your grandfather’s forest fires.

Because the burn area in eastern Arizona is sparsely populated, damage to property so far has been minimal compared to, say, wildfire destruction in California, where the interface of civilization and wilderness is growing ever more crowded. However, the devastation to life in the fire zone, from microbiotic communities that hold soil and crucial nutrients in place to more popular species like deer, elk, bear, fish, and birds—already hard-pressed to cope with the rapidity of climate change—will be catastrophic.

The vastness of the American West holds rainforests, deserts, and everything in between, so weather patterns and moisture vary. Nonetheless, we have been experiencing a historic drought for about a decade in significant parts of the region. As topsoil dries out, microbial dynamics change and native plants either die or move uphill toward cooler temperatures and more moisture. Wildlife that depends on the seeds, nuts, leaves, shade, and shelter follows the plants—if it can.

 

(click here to continue reading How the West Was Lost | Mother Jones.)

Written by Seth Anderson

June 16th, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Climate Scientist Sues Skeptic for Libel

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Sitting in the Clouds

Wonder if any interesting evidence will be unearthed during discovery? Like oil corporation involvement, or Koch Industry payments to Tim Ball? Curious to see what happens.

A prominent Canadian climate scientist is suing a leading climate skeptic for libel, arguing that an article published online in January contained false and malicious claims.

Andrew Weaver, a climate modeler at the University of Victoria, filed the lawsuit against Tim Ball, a former professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg and a vocal critic of the science linking man-made emissions to global warming, over an article published by the Canada Free Press, a conservative Web site.

The article described Dr. Weaver, who was lead author for the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as lacking a basic understanding of climate science and incorrectly stated that he would not take part in the next I.P.C.C. panel because of concerns about its credibility. Dr. Weaver is already involved in the preparation of the next report from the panel and has never said that he was ending his involvement with it.

Dr. Ball’s article has been removed from the Canada Free Press site, which published a long retraction and apology to Dr. Weaver after being contacted by the scientist’s lawyer.

The article contained “untrue and disparaging statements,” the site’s editors wrote, adding that the attacks on Dr. Weaver’s scientific credibility were unjustified. “We entirely accept that he has a well-deserved international reputation as a climate scientist and that Dr. Ball’s attack on his credentials is unjustified.”

 

(click here to continue reading Climate Scientist Sues Skeptic for Libel – NYTimes.com.)

As an internet wag said somewhere, this must mean that we can discredit all of the climate deniers now since they acknowledge committing an error, right?1

Footnotes:
  1.  Reached by phone, Dr. Ball acknowledged that he had made “one small mistake” with his statement that Dr. Weaver was bowing out of the I.P.C.C. process, []

Written by Seth Anderson

February 8th, 2011 at 9:20 am

Posted in News-esque

Tagged with , ,

Topsy-Turvy Weather

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Painted On Smile

Regional weather aberrations like the snow fall in New York make for good copy, but the earth is bigger than just the Eastern Seaboard of the US:

For two winters running, an Arctic chill has descended on Europe, burying that continent in snow and ice. Last year in the United States, historic blizzards afflicted the mid-Atlantic region. This winter the Deep South has endured unusual snowstorms and severe cold, and a frigid Northeast is bracing for what could shape into another major snowstorm this week.

Yet while people in Atlanta learn to shovel snow, the weather 2,000 miles to the north has been freakishly warm the past two winters. Throughout northeastern Canada and Greenland, temperatures in December ran as much as 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Bays and lakes have been slow to freeze; ice fishing, hunting and trade routes have been disrupted.

Iqaluit, the capital of the remote Canadian territory of Nunavut, had to cancel its New Year’s snowmobile parade. David Ell, the deputy mayor, said that people in the region had been looking with envy at snowbound American and European cities. “People are saying, ‘That’s where all our snow is going!’ ” he said.

The immediate cause of the topsy-turvy weather is clear enough. A pattern of atmospheric circulation that tends to keep frigid air penned in the Arctic has weakened during the last two winters, allowing big tongues of cold air to descend far to the south, while masses of warmer air have moved north.

The deeper issue is whether this pattern is linked to the rapid changes that global warming is causing in the Arctic, particularly the drastic loss of sea ice. At least two prominent climate scientists have offered theories suggesting that it is.

(click to continue reading Topsy-Turvy Weather – U.S. Is Frigid, and Arctic Warmer Than Usual – NYTimes.com.)

and because the Climate Change Deniers are so vocal and well funded by various business interests, they get a special shout-out

Bloggers who specialize in raising doubts about climate science have gleefully pointed to the recent winters in the United States and Europe as evidence that climatologists must be mistaken about a warming trend. These commentators have not been as eager to write about the strange warmth in parts of the Arctic, a region that scientists have long predicted will warm more rapidly than the planet as a whole.

(click to continue reading Topsy-Turvy Weather – U.S. Is Frigid, and Arctic Warmer Than Usual – NYTimes.com.)

Written by Seth Anderson

January 25th, 2011 at 8:48 am

Posted in environment

Tagged with

China’s Push Into Wind Worries U.S. Industry

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Talk to the Wind

Well, on the one hand, the Chinese government fully supports and subsidizes its green power industries, and on the other hand, the U.S. government, and especially the Tea Baggers and Oil Slurper Republicans are dismissive of any energy policy that doesn’t focus solely on highways, natural gas, coal and oil. So, do the math: Chinese companies are going to be lapping the innovations of American companies until something changes. And it probably won’t.

Goldwind and other Chinese-owned companies plan a big push into the American wind power market in coming months.

While proponents say the Chinese manufacturers should be welcomed as an engine for creating more green jobs and speeding the adoption of renewable energy in this country, others see a threat to workers and profits in the still-embryonic American wind industry.

“We cannot sit idly by while China races to the forefront of clean energy production at the expense of U.S. manufacturing,” Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said during a debate this year over federal subsidies for wind energy.

(click to continue reading China’s Push Into Wind Worries U.S. Industry – NYTimes.com.)

and World Trade Organization threats notwithstanding, China is serious:

American wind output still meets only a small portion of the nation’s overall demand for electricity — about 2 percent — compared with countries like Spain, which gets about 14 percent of its electrical power from the wind.

And the tepid United States economy, rock-bottom natural gas prices and lingering questions about federal wind energy policy have stalled the American wind industry, which currently represents only about 85,000 jobs. Even the American market leader, General Electric, reported a sharp drop in third-quarter turbine sales, compared with the same period last year.

All of which might indicate that dim market prospects await the wave of wind-turbine makers from China. But the Chinese companies can play a patient game because they have big backing from China’s government in the form of low-interest loans and other blandishments — too much help, in the critics’ view.

In the case of China, the Obama administration is investigating whether the Chinese may have violated World Trade Organization rules in subsidizing its clean-energy industry.

Mr. Rowland’s company, Goldwind, is the fledgling American arm of a state-owned Chinese company that has emerged as the world’s fifth-largest turbine maker: the Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology Company.

To help finance its overseas efforts, Xinjiang Goldwind raised nearly $1 billion in an initial public stock offering in Hong Kong in October — on top of a $6 billion low-interest loan agreement in May from the government-owned China Development Bank.

Goldwind, which set up a sales office in Chicago, has hired about a dozen executives, engineers and other employees so far. Most, like Mr. Rowland, are Americans already experienced in the wind energy field.

Not sure where exactly the Goldwind U.S. HQ will be located, but somewhere near me presumedly. Google Maps says on W. Washington, which is probably correct, but Goldwind’s site doesn’t yet reflect this.

Another major international player in the wind energy business will soon be calling Chicago home, as Chinese manufacturer Goldwind has announced plans to locate its North American headquarters in the city.

Goldwind’s move to the Windy City is the latest in a string of major wind firms that have looked to Chicago as the most logical business center for their US operations, attracted by the city’s central location, international airports, strong legal and financial expertise, and an experienced, educated workforce.

The firm also announced it has hired a talented pair of new executives to head the company, including Tim Rosenzweig as CEO and Matthew Olive as Director of Sales, both well-seasoned wind industry officials.

(click to continue reading Goldwind to Locate US Headquarters in Chicago, Hires Executive Staff – News – The Illinois Wind Energy Association.)

However, honestly, as a consumer, I’d happily purchase a home windmill from any manufacturer, regardless of geopolitical concerns. Jingoism doesn’t really factor in. And I’d be happy if my cousin got a job with Goldwind, or some other foreign green energy company. If the US is too short-sighted to encourage alternative energy companies, well, c’est la vie.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 16th, 2010 at 9:46 am

In Weather Chaos, a Case for Global Warming

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Bears repeating, a million times: the weather is going to become more extreme as we finish the job of destroying planet Earth. Paid shills like George Will may dispute the facts, may be given a national platform to spew their garbage, but science will triumph.

Glimmer of Spring

“The climate is changing,” said Jay Lawrimore, chief of climate analysis at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. “Extreme events are occurring with greater frequency, and in many cases with greater intensity.”

He described excessive heat, in particular, as “consistent with our understanding of how the climate responds to increasing greenhouse gases.”

Theory suggests that a world warming up because of those gases will feature heavier rainstorms in summer, bigger snowstorms in winter, more intense droughts in at least some places and more record-breaking heat waves. Scientists and government reports say the statistical evidence shows that much of this is starting to happen.

(click to continue reading In Weather Chaos, a Case for Global Warming – NYTimes.com.)

and

Thermometer measurements show that the earth has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the Industrial Revolution, when humans began pumping enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. For this January through July, average temperatures were the warmest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Friday.

The warming has moved in fits and starts, and the cumulative increase may sound modest. But it is an average over the entire planet, representing an immense amount of added heat, and is only the beginning of a trend that most experts believe will worsen substantially.

If the earth were not warming, random variations in the weather should cause about the same number of record-breaking high temperatures and record-breaking low temperatures over a given period. But climatologists have long theorized that in a warming world, the added heat would cause more record highs and fewer record lows.

The statistics suggest that is exactly what is happening. In the United States these days, about two record highs are being set for every record low, telltale evidence that amid all the random variation of weather, the trend is toward a warmer climate.

Next winter there will be a snow storm, and some wag or idiot1 will make a lame joke about Al Gore and cold weather. Remember this quote:

“Global warming, ironically, can actually increase the amount of snow you get,” said Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “But it also means the snow season is shorter.”

Footnotes:
  1. the two terms are closely related []

Written by Seth Anderson

August 17th, 2010 at 8:13 am

Climategate: Officially a Fake Scandal

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But of course it is, all an independent observer had to do was look at the parties kvetching and the parties kvetched about, and weigh who had more credibility. Hint, not the Fox News team…

Eagle on Ice
[Eagles sitting on an Alaskan glacier fragment]

Despite relentless noise from climate skeptics about the so-called “Climategate” email scandal, an independent review released today cleared the scientists involved of wrong-doing.

East Anglia University, home of the Climatic Research Unit whose servers were hacked to obtain the emails in question, commissioned an independent review council to look into whether there was any evidence of malfeasance among scientists involved in the email exchange. The panel concluded:

We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.
The panel did note that there is a need for greater collaboration between climate scientists, outside of just the small group at CRU. But the university called the conclusion “gratifying.”

Other independent analysis has also made it clear that skeptics are making a lot of noise out of nothing.

[Click to continue reading Climategate: Officially a Fake Scandal | Mother Jones]

Still, the ExxonMobil sponsored Rethuglicans use the strategy of the Big Lie. By the time the truth emerges, half of the folks who only pay attention to the surface of the news will be repeating the Big Lie as if it were gospel.

Written by Seth Anderson

April 15th, 2010 at 9:18 am

EPA Plans to slowly regulate emissions

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Speaking of obstructionist asses in the US Senate1, note how Senator Rockefeller words his plea to the EPA.

Sun Like a Drug

Facing wide criticism over their recent finding that greenhouse gases endanger the public welfare, top Environmental Protection Agency officials said Monday that any regulation of such gases would be phased in gradually and would not impose expensive new rules on most American businesses.

The E.P.A.’s administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, wrote in a letter to eight coal-state Democrats who have sought a moratorium on regulation that only the biggest sources of greenhouse gases would be subjected to limits before 2013. Smaller ones would not be regulated before 2016, she said.

“I share your goals of ensuring economic recovery at this critical time and of addressing greenhouse gas emissions in sensible ways that are consistent with the call for comprehensive energy and climate legislation,” Ms. Jackson wrote.

The eight Democratic senators, led by John D. Rockefeller IV(Coal) of West Virginia, said hugely significant decisions about energy, the economy and the environment should be made by elected representatives, not by federal bureaucrats.

The senators, who earlier questioned broad cap-and-trade legislation pushed by the Obama administration, join a number of Republican lawmakers, industry groups and officials from Texas, Alabama and Virginia in challenging the proposed E.P.A. regulations of industrial sources. Senate Republicans are going a step further, seeking to prevent the agency from taking any action to limit greenhouse gases, which are tied to global warming.

[Click to continue reading E.P.A. Plans to Phase in Regulation of Emissions – NYTimes.com]

Don’t do anything, in other words. Senator Rockefeller (Coal) wants climate change policy making to come back to the Senate where it can die the Death of the Thousand Cuts and Additions2, and generally get debated until we’re all dead. In the last 10 years, what climate change policy has the Senate actually passed into law, Senator Rockerfeller (Coal)? I have exactly zero faith in the US Senate accomplishing anything productive, not unless LBJ rises from the grave to give some of the nattering nabobs of the Senate The Treatment.

Footnotes:
  1. aren’t we always??!! []
  2. sometimes called amendments []

Written by Seth Anderson

February 23rd, 2010 at 8:31 am

Obstructionists As the World Burns

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Jeff Goodell wrote, back in January, 2010

Motion is Life

Our collective response to the emerging catastrophe verges on suicidal. World leaders have been talking about tackling climate change for nearly 20 years now — yet carbon emissions keep going up and up. “We are in a race against time,” says Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat from Washington who has fought for sharp reductions in planet-warming pollution. “Mother Nature isn’t sitting around waiting for us to get our political act together.” In fact, our failure to confront global warming is more than simply political incompetence. Over the past year, the corporations and special interests most responsible for climate change waged an all-out war to prevent Congress from cracking down on carbon pollution in time for Copenhagen. The oil and coal industries deployed an unprecedented army of lobbyists, spent millions on misleading studies and engaged in outright deception to derail climate legislation. “It was the most aggressive and corrupt lobbying campaign I’ve ever seen,” says Paul Begala, a veteran Democratic consultant.

[well, until the banking lobby got ramped up]

By preventing meaningful action in Copenhagen, the battle to kill the climate bill provided the world’s biggest polluters with a lucrative victory — one that comes at the rest of the world’s expense. “In the long term, the fossil-fuel industry is going to lose this war,” says Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “But in the short term, they are doing everything they can to delay the revolution. For them, what this fight is really about is buying precious time to maximize profits from carbon sources. It’s really no more complicated than that.”

[Click to continue reading As the World Burns : Rolling Stone]

and by focusing more energy on healthcare reform, the climate bill didn’t get passed either. What will happen in 2010? The U.S. Senate has dozens of high profile bills sitting on its agenda, bills that passed the US House, but the Senators seem more interested in cheap showmanship and posturing. I guess that isn’t new, but it is frustrating.

The Republican Party1 is slurping up energy lobby dollars of course, and predictably are opposed to any change to the status quo.

Tales of the Towering Dead

The most credible analysis of the bill2, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, found that the measure would cost most families no more than $175 a year — the equivalent of “about a postage stamp a day,” Markey says. But the Heritage Foundation is nothing if not a big, well-greased disinformation machine. “We noticed that every time a constituent came in to talk to us about the bill, they would be quoting the same numbers,” says one congressional staffer. “We knew they were a lie, but they were everywhere.”

Energy lobbyists found a willing ally in the Republican Party, which had decided to deny any legislative victory to President Obama — even if it meant cooking the planet in the process. Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas who had been replaced by Waxman as chair of the House energy committee, pledged to launch “crafty” attacks on the climate bill, comparing the GOP’s battle plan to “guerrilla warfare.”

Gah, we need a new political party, one that believes in science, in civil liberties, and the will of the people. Not going to happen in my lifetime unfortunately, and not unless there are drastic changes to how elections are paid for.

Shrieks and Secrets

While Big Oil and Big Coal worked to whip up public hysteria, their Republican allies moved to block the climate bill in the Senate. The most unexpected and influential voice proved to be John McCain, who had long been a champion of climate legislation. The Arizona senator was highly respected by environmental and business leaders for his grasp of both the science and economics of global warming. Even while he was busy selling his soul to the far right during the presidential campaign, he called climate change “a test of foresight, of political courage and of the unselfish concern that one generation owes to the next.” But when the opportunity to show some political courage of his own arrived, McCain executed a bizarre about-face. The industry-friendly bill passed by the House, he now declared — a measure modeled on the cap-and-trade bill he had co-sponsored with Joe Lieberman — was “the worst example of legislation I’ve seen in a long time.”

Senate veterans were stunned. “McCain is still licking his wounds from the election,” says one insider who recently met with the senator. “He may eventually do something on this, but he wants Obama to come to him and ask for help.”

As they had in the House, Republicans in the Senate decided to obstruct the climate bill at every turn. Leading the charge was Sen. James Inhofe, the former chair of the Senate environment committee, who has not let the fact that the Arctic is melting before our very eyes stop him from continuing to proclaim that global warming is a “hoax.” When Boxer, the committee’s new chair, tried to advance the climate bill, Inhofe launched a number of procedural maneuvers designed to stall the bill, such as calling for more analysis from the EPA. “We all knew it was a game,” says one Senate staffer. When Boxer finally forced a vote on the bill in November, Inhofe and his fellow Republicans on the committee didn’t even bother to show up.

Democrats from energy-producing states — including Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Jim Webb of Virginia and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas — also tried to put the brakes on climate legislation, siding with Republicans who demanded that the bill earn a 60-vote supermajority for passage. By last fall, the Obama administration was forced to acknowledge that the battle was lost. “Obviously, we’d like to be through the process,” Browner, the new climate czar, conceded in October. “But that’s not going to happen. We will go to Copenhagen with whatever we have.” Inhofe put it even more bluntly. “We won, you lost,” he boasted to Boxer’s face. “Get a life.”

The Senate’s failure to act helped torpedo the talks in Copenhagen, which not only failed to produce a binding treaty but postponed meaningful action until 2015. It has also left Obama with no clear strategy of how to move forward.

Footnotes:
  1. and some short-sighted Democrats as well []
  2. H.R. 2454 – American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 []

Written by Seth Anderson

February 23rd, 2010 at 8:08 am

Reading Around on February 3rd through February 6th

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A few interesting links collected February 3rd through February 6th:

  • Flash Crash! – If you are reading this from a browser using Adobe’s Flash Player plug-in (i.e., if you see a blue rectangle below), it will probably crash within the next few seconds. 🙁
  • If Global Warming Is Real Then Why Is It Cold – editorial cartoonists are not scientists, in other words
  • Spirits: Long-lost Gin Buck gets most bang from ginger beer – The gin buck? Three ingredients, no matter the variation. You can try the “modern” version: gin, lemon juice and ginger ale, which gives the drink a mellow lemon-lime flavor. Or, substitute the lemon with a half-lime squeeze, rimming the glass with the pulp to make it extra tart. Either way, it’s fizzier than a gin gimlet, and sweeter that a straight gin and tonic.

    But to really do it right, you’ll want to go retro and spice it up with ginger beer, which, unlike today’s ginger ale, actually tastes of ginger. That’s how they made it in the old days: gin, authentic ginger ale (that actually tasted like ginger, so to get that flavor today, we’d use ginger beer) and lime juice, over ice cubes. The ginger and juniper flavors interact intensely.

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08220/902258-389.stm#ixzz0eXG3Ki1I

Written by swanksalot

February 6th, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Reading Around on January 10th through January 17th

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A few interesting links collected January 10th through January 17th:

  • New York Times Ready to Charge Online Readers — Daily Intel – The argument for remaining free was based on the belief that nytimes.com is growing into an English-language global newspaper of record, with a vast audience — 20 million unique readers — that, Nisenholtz and others believed, would prove lucrative as web advertising matured. (The nytimes.com homepage, for example, has sold out on numerous occasions in the past year.) As other papers failed to survive the massive migration to the web, the Times would be the last man standing and emerge with even more readers. Going paid would capture more circulation revenue, but risk losing significant traffic and with it ad dollars.
  • The Climate Killers : Rolling Stone – The Climate Killers Meet the 17 polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming: Warren Buffett
    Rupert Murdoch
    Jack Gerard, President, American Petroleum
    Rex Tillerson, CEO, ExxonMobil
    Sen. Mary Landrieu, Democrat, Louisiana
    Marc Morano, Founder, Climate Depot
    Sen. James Inhofe, Republican, Oklahoma
    David Ratcliffe, CEO, Southern Company
    Dick Gephardt, CEO, Gephardt Group
    George Will, Commentator, ABC
    Tom Donohue, President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    Don Blankenship, CEO, Massey Energy
    Hack Scientist, Fred Singer, Retired physicist, University of Virginia
    Sen. John McCain, Republican, Arizona
    Rep. Joe Barton, Republican, Texas
    Charles and David Koch, CEO and Executive Vice President, Koch Industries
  • Everything That Ever Happens Is Good News For The Republicans, Corporate Media Insists – In the Senate, two Democrats will retire but six Republicans will join them. In the House, GOP retirements outpace Democrats 14 to 10.

Written by swanksalot

January 17th, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Reading Around on December 18th through December 23rd

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A few interesting links collected December 18th through December 23rd:

Written by swanksalot

December 23rd, 2009 at 1:00 am

Apple Resigns From Chamber Over Climate Lies

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Am surprised that Apple, Inc. was even part of this neo-conservative organization, but kudos for publicly leaving eventually. Exelon set a good example I guess.

Red Monks in the Green Grass

Apple has become the latest company to resign from the United States Chamber of Commerce over climate policy.

“We strongly object to the chamber’s recent comments opposing the E.P.A.’s effort to limit greenhouse gases,” wrote Catherine A. Novelli, the vice president of worldwide government affairs at Apple, in a letter dated today and addressed to Thomas J. Donohue, president and chief executive of the chamber. Click here to read the letter.

“Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the chamber at odds with us in this effort,” Ms. Novelli continued.

Apple’s resignation was effective immediately, the letter said.

[Click to continue reading Apple Resigns From Chamber Over Climate – Green Inc. Blog – NYTimes.com]

Now, if only the Congress would follow this example, and pass meaningful climate policy legislation!

From SourceWatch:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobbying group in the United States, “used to be a trade association that advocated in a bipartisan manner for narrowly tailored policies to benefit its members. Since 1997 or so, it has become a fully functional part of the partisan Republican machine,” with CEO and president Thomas J. Donohue “raising its budget to $150M a year from corporate chiefs satisfied with his ability to move policy through a Republican Congress,” Matt Stoller wrote December 13, 2006, at MyDD.

The Chamber claims on its website that its mission is to “advance human progress through an economic, political and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity, and responsibility.”[2] It describes itself as “the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.”[3]

However, the Chamber is “dominated by oil companies, pharmaceutical giants, automakers and other polluting industries,” according to James Carter, executive director of the Green Chamber of Commerce.[4]

[Click to continue reading U.S. Chamber of Commerce – SourceWatch]

Written by Seth Anderson

October 5th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Exelon Quits Chamber of Commerce

with one comment

This might be the first time I’m writing about Exelon doing something positive for the world, namely, publicly quitting the head-in-the-sand U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the Chamber of Commerce’s position regarding climate change. Kudos to Exelon for being citizens of the 21st Century!

Exelon CEO John Rowe announced that his company — the largest electric utility company in the United States — would not renew its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of its opposition to global warming action. In his keynote address to the annual conference of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the nation’s largest association of energy efficiency experts, Rowe said that the Chamber’s multi-million-dollar campaign against clean energy legislation is incompatible with Exelon’s commitment to climate change leadership. As Rowe said when he accepted a leadership award from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce in 2008:

Exelon has staked out an industry-leading position on the issue of climate change and, in the spirit of Daniel Burnham, we have launched our own “not so little plan” to eliminate the equivalent of our entire carbon footprint by the year 2020. I do not know if it will stir men’s souls, but I hope it will stir policymakers and others in our industry to action.

Confirming Exelon’s decision to ThinkProgress, a spokesperson explained that “Exelon is a big supporter of climate legislation.” Exelon is the third energy company to sever ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the past week, joining Pacific Gas & Electric and PNM Resources.

[Click to continue reading Wonk Room » Exelon Ditches U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Over Climate Denial ]

Of course, the G-20 is only taking tepid moves, so no energy company is going to lose much by siding with the forces of science and progress, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 29th, 2009 at 8:15 am